It only took a few sentences, probably 60 seconds of lip movement, and Brandon Graham found a way to completely piss off the National Football League Players Association.
Here’s what the Eagles rookie told Tim McManus of Philadelphia Sports Daily:
Despite warnings from the NFLPA, there are players on the Eagles who are financially ill-equipped for the looming lockout. Brandon Graham is not one of those people. Thanks to a first-round contract that reportedly guarantees him $14 million, as well as the guidance of a trustworthy management team, the former Michigan Wolverine is set up for long-term wealth despite short-term hurdles.
This makes him attractive to the needy and the greedy seeking some liquid – including his own teammates. By Graham’s count, at least two fellow Eagles have asked him for substantial loans to get them through the lockout.
The most he’s gotten hit up for?
“100K,” said Graham.
“They try not to make it awkward. They’ll come to you like they’re joking, but they’re serious. They’re trying to feel you out, to see what you’ll say.”
Graham always has the same reply: No.
“I’ll be like, ‘What are you going to do with it, other than blow it?’ I don’t want to be beefing with guys on my team because they owe me money,” said Graham.
What this helps prove:
1) A rookie wage scale is extremely necessary. How ridiculous is it that veteran players are having to approach 22-year-old rookies for loans? The NFL’s salary structure is ass-backwards. Guys like Graham make far too much up front. That’s not to say that vets deserve more money, but those huge rookie signing bonuses should be given to retired players struggling to afford health care.
2) Players are going to have a hard time not crying uncle if the league locks them out in a week. Sure, they’ll stay strong for a few weeks, but eventually it’s going to catch up to some of these guys. Professional athletes are horrible with their money, and this anecdote only re-emphasizes that point.